Lightning conductor hats, 1778

Lightning conductor hats, 1778

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Lightning conductor hats. Historical illustration of women in Paris, France, in 1778 wearing hats equipped with a lightning conductor. This metal strip trails to touch the ground, in theory providing a route for electricity to travel safely down to the ground. Lightning rods (for use on buildings) were invented in the 1750s, both in the USA and Europe. In practice, this sort of device would provide little protection against the effects of a lightning strike on a person. A better strategy is to take shelter in a safe place during a thunderstorm. Artwork from 'Electricite' (1911) by Max de Nansouty, part of the 'Les merveilles de la science' series of 1867-1891 by Louis Figuier.

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